The HR’s Data Mines

There is a lot of talk about ‘Big Data’ analytics capabilities. Yet, more data is not necessarily the right data and data by itself does not provide the right insights.

HR’s maturity has been defined and influenced today by popular trends and proprietary knowledge points acquired with the organization’s experience. Existing recruitment styles, despite the technological influences and upheavals in the HR domain remain strictly limited by the structure that they have been put into – namely the data we put into the system (Garbage in – Garbage out). There are various Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and different point solutions for Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, HR Operations, Compensation and Benefits, Payroll and Branding (for talent).

The conquest of structure and the pitfalls

This leads to a position where all decision making reference points are emerging from the limited and structured data. These have held the industry in good stead until recently. In today’s world, the HR function is pushed to its limits due to the quantity and specificity of the demand placed on them. At times, it is not specific to the extent that we understand that different people work differently under different circumstances. A project kicking off requires a different type of project manager from a project that is in its implementation vis-à-vis a project that is in the control phase.

We have reached a phase where we are questioning how many ‘employees’ does one require and how much of this work can get done by ‘hired guns’. Even questions like am I paying right? Am I at a risk of losing a valuable employee? Am I ‘ready’ enough to lose her / him? What is it that is creating employee loyalty in my organization and what is it that is holding it back? What type of training must I  provide my employees in general and what type of training must I provide every tier of my workforce to keep them motivated? What do I do to create leaders and evangelists in my organization? What are the skills and personality types that I already have and what should I develop? Can these be developed and is it worth the investment? Why is it always difficult to determine these questions?

From the time an employee swipes his identification to gain entry into the office to his swipe out, every instance of his work is a source of data. Using this data and processing them to derive the right results, however, are an increasing challenge in today’s ‘structure-centric’ world. Reason, we have so many systems; each being either the best of breed or something that works for you. In other words, they work in silos, not in conjunction with each other. We struggle with integrating them with the overarching business operations; struggling to measure and push for realistic targets.

These extensively thought out processes and tool sets have been created with the  intent to derive the best results. Do you agree that better processes result in better efficiency? If yes, does this reflect on your operational bottom line? Do you see marked improvements on your overall stance? If you see a process providing a 90 % improvement in your process efficiency, is it getting translated to at least 30% Actual improved Operational Efficiency? If no, why can’t we see them reflect true savings despite a marked improvement in processes?

The answer to this is that we work and provide process efficiency whilst expecting operational results from these process efficiencies. An operational efficiency that can link a complete operational framework of each business unit and preferably the whole organization (for which we have solutions in the form of ERPs). However we need something more – a living, breathing, learning engine that provides ‘context’ to each process and enables decision makers to optimize process outputs and process environment; an ability to truly identify and sync business operations and push it to deliver measurable results.

Spire conducted an extensive research on the requirements for HRs in 4 different continents and across industries, between 2007 and 2008. The findings of this research indicate that the analytical systems in HR – while matured and available from a Business Process perspective, were lacking from an underlying ‘context’ perspective. This was simply not available. Data generated by processes are structured and hence relevant only in silos.

Furthermore, most Applicant Tracking Systems today work quite independent of the workforce management tool, which in turn is quite independent of the payroll, which is again independent of the Learning and Development Platforms and HR helpdesks and so on. Eventually top dollars are spent in developing processes to work around these inefficiencies. The efficiencies derived from these processes as a whole are again left up to the individuals that are running these systems – which make them operationally inefficient.

Spire is part of the context revolution and has developed a horizontal context intelligence platform that can run across an enterprise. It is a learning engine that will help substantiate the context and trends throughout the enterprise and use it to map the necessary demand-supply dynamic. More importantly it is capable of integrating with all the customers’ existing systems which provide multi-structured data. The prime essence of this platform is its unparalleled ability to derive contextual intelligence from unstructured data.

Until now, the input and intelligence have been solely business process driven, hence lacking ‘context’ vis-à-vis the business expectation. The future HR workplace will require unprecedented agility to fit with the needs of the business real-time, moving from a ‘support’ function to a ‘core’ function to provide for the ability to accommodate agility, making HR a true business partner.

In HR terms what this means is that HR capabilities are always in tune with the organization’s needs. It means that HR is contributing to the business needs by having a ready solutions to enable end-to-end HR capabilities in minutes or even seconds! It means, for example, that the HR acquires the capability to identify who in the system is a flight risk, why they are at risk and what retention plans can be put in place to counter attrition. HR systems will allow you to keep employees engaged.

The HR workplace is progressing to the phase where HR decisions are primary to the success of the organization, be it in Hiring, Managing, Rewards & Recognition, Engagement of Employees or Employer Branding. One of the primary reason for an organization’s success is its ability to deliver amidst radically different challenges that come up, and yet provide a high RoI. HR’s prime responsibility is to acquire and enable talent to deliver on this paramount requirement. An unforgiving world that is driven by information, trends and bottom lines……….